Some doubt a public gun registry would deter criminals and say it could endanger gun owners! A Democratic-sponsored proposal to create a public gun registry poses some dangerous potential risks, including to Second Amendment rights, law enforcement officers are warning.
The bill in Congress represents a “gross intrusion on your rights and your protections,” Kevin Hassett, president of the Retired Police Association of the State of New York, told Fox News.
Specifically, a public gun registry would present significant risks for retired law enforcement officers like him, Hassett warned, going so far as to deem the legislation “anti-police.”
“What good is it for someone who I may have arrested to finally find where I live, see how many guns I have? To what end?” Hassett asked. “How does that stop illegal firearms? How does that stop shootings?”
T.J. McDermott, a retired detective, echoed similar concerns, which he characterized as “downright frightening.”
“We’ve become a society where it’s easy to vilify [the police],” McDermott told Fox News. “[Now they’re] turning police into victims.”
Both Hassett and McDermott doubted that a public gun registry – or even increased firearm ownership regulations – would deter criminals who blatantly violate the law.
“How does a national gun registry prevent shootings?” Hassett asked. “Criminals don’t register their guns. … There will always be people who don’t comply with the law.”
“How does a national gun registry prevent shootings? Criminals don’t register their guns. … There will always be people who don’t comply with the law.”
— Kevin Hassett, president, Retired Police Association of the State of New York
A registry would even help criminals find firearms, by requiring law-abiding citizens to register details including how many they have, where they are stored and how they are stored, McDermott added.
“You just let every criminal, anyone that’s bent on bad behavior or obtaining a gun illegally … know exactly where to go to find the guns,” McDermott said.
“You just let every criminal, anyone that’s bent on bad behavior or obtaining a gun illegally … know exactly where to go to find the guns.”
— T.J. McDermott, a retired detective, the legislation was introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and would implement several other restrictions on gun ownership in addition to creating the national gun registry.
The minimum age to purchase a gun would be set nationwide at 21. In order to obtain a general license, the plan would also require a completed background check, a psychological evaluation and completion of a training course for gun owners.
To obtain a license for a military-style weapon, an individual would be faced with more stringent requirements – including psychological evaluations of spouses, former spouses, and at least two other family members or close associates.
Penalties for failure to comply with the laws would range from fines of up to $150,000 to decades in prison.
Lee’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The proposal for a national gun registry, however, is not new.
The National Rifle Association called the idea “dangerous” in a 2013 interview with NPR, saying it could potentially infringe on people’s Second Amendment rights to own a firearm.
“A registry of people who own firearms – citizens who’ve broken no law, who are not prohibited from owning firearms – would be very dangerous because it can easily result in confiscation of those firearms,” former NRA President David Keene said at the time.
A gun registry in theory would make it easier to potentially link individuals to certain gun-related crimes, and prevent illegal gun sales.
But critics, like Hassett and McDermott, say it could also punish and deter law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights, while doing very little to remove illegal firearms from the streets.